Greenwood Elementary

38
City/Town: Hot Springs
Location Class: School
Year Built: 1939
Year Abandoned: 2009
Status: Demolished
Photojournalist: Michael Schwarz

The large sign, hand-written with a bold sweeping letter on white poster board, authoritatively proclaims:

Class Room Rules:

1.       Everyone is to be in their assigned seat.

2.       Everyone will speak only when called on by the teacher or aide.

3.       Only do what you have permission to do.

4.       Treat each person the way that you want them to treat you.

greenwood_school1stgradeNot necessarily the rules that we all grew up with in school but then again, the old Summit School wasn’t necessarily always like most schools.  Originally built as Greenwood in 1939 as a regular elementary school within the Hot Springs community, the school began losing attendance in the 1980s, it was finally closed in 1993, and it then sat abandoned.  But not for very long, though.

It was reopened in 1994 at which time it became known as the Summit School – an educational facility for at-risk students that were unable to function well within the more traditional educational settings. These students, often suffering from behavioral-based problems, frequently found an environment better suited to their more problematic learning needs within the Summit School.  And the school was very successful in its second life, too.  The school was so successful in its special mission that, in 2009 a brand new, more modern facility was specifically constructed to house the growing facility.

And the old Greenwood Elementary School in Hot Springs sat empty, again. As is often the case with such buildings, it would cost too much to tear the school down and clear the land and nobody’s really clamoring for the property anyway, so the local school district is simply using the deserted building as storage.  But only on the bottom floors.

greenwoodschoolteachers1950sAll of the rooms on the top floor remain very much as they were left on that last day of school back in 2001.  Student desks still sit in their special seating arrangements, all geared toward the most effective classroom management patterns.  Posters still adorn many of the walls.  Chalkboards and dry erase boards still contain their last messages rooted in those final days of learning.  Teacher’s desks still rest in the corners of their classrooms that provided the best views of all of the students on a simultaneous basis.  Piles of papers and manila folders full of even more papers remain stacked on those desks, perhaps representing that one last round of work that departing teachers opted to leave undone, resting securely in the knowledge that they would not be returning to it.   Framed pictures continue to provide educationally themed decorations.   Having been originally built in the 1930s, all of the classrooms have very tall and expansive windows geared toward allowing maximum illumination by the sunlight, but now the curtains over those majestic old windows remain closed to be opened no more.  And hundreds of antiquated wooden seats, all arranged in a multi-tiered bleachers-style format, all stare emptily out over a spacious wooden gymnasium floor, it’s shiny luster gradually losing its battle with the years that are no assaulting it.

And the outside of the building?  The outside of the building looks just like an image pulled out of time and the passing reminder of another day.  The old facility’s archaic red brick facades, tall square chimney, high reaching banks of windows, all lend themselves to a much earlier day. Those were far simpler times.

Update 2020: Unfortunately, this building has now been demolished. There was an amazing effort to save it, however, it met the wrecking ball in November.




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38 Comments
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Kevin Henry
Kevin Henry
3 days ago

My dad, Ira Henry, was a teacher there

Karen Wolstenholme
Karen Wolstenholme
6 days ago

In the early grades a lot of us girls played “house” using the magnificent roots at the bottom of trees in the woods right off the playground. I remember collecting acorns and bunching pine needles together to form a “broom” for sweeping out the house. That may be hard to visualize but my memory is very vivid of this. Then there was the merry go round made of metal with wooden seats. We would run and push it around to gain speed and finally jump on at the last minute. There was also a lot of kickball played all through… Read more »

Valarie Carpenter Wasson
Valarie Carpenter Wasson
6 days ago

One of my favorite things to do at Greenwood was to play on the bars. I practiced and perfected day after day til I learned how to do the infamous “cherry drop” & “death drop”. The cherry drop is where you would hang from your knees upside down and swing until you got high enough then you would jump off and Land on your feet (hopefully!) The death drop was a little trickier! You had to sit on top of the bar, fall back, and then let go and land on your feet! Both of which would scare my mom… Read more »

Michael Davin
Michael Davin
2 months ago

Attended 4th, 5th and 6th grade there in (I think) 1966, 1967 and 1968. I played quarterback on the football teams in all years. The 4th and 5th grades were combined and the 6th grade played by itself. My Dad (Dennis Davin) and Dr. Irwin Lax (optomologist for years in Hot Springs) were the football coaches for the 4th and 5th grade team and (Arkansas State Senator and then Garland County Sheriff) Bud Canada was my 6th grade football coach. We won the City Championship ALL three years then! We had to move back to Kansas City, Missouri after that.… Read more »

Cindy Yates
Cindy Yates
1 year ago

I went there in 1st , 2nd and 3rd grade, 1966 , 67 and 68… my brother went from 1962 to 1967.. we both had some of the same teachers

Marsha Goslee
Marsha Goslee
1 year ago

I went to Greenwood School from 1956 to 1962. My teachers were Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. True, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Byers, and Mrs. Freeman. Doris Hull was the music teacher for 5th & 6th grades.

Jim Barber
Jim Barber
1 year ago

I am planning on another “road trip vacation” late this spring with my two grandsons and my eldest daughter to Colorado and New Mexico. We will spent at least a full day or more in Hot Springs. This maybe my last opportunity to show the boys and daughter some of the places I tried to grow up, but never have.
I am sure they will be impressed with Hot Springs and Gramp’s grade school and McCard’s BBQ.

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howardstorage
1 year ago

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Nancy Ruth Smith
Nancy Ruth Smith
2 years ago

Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I attended Greenwood for 1st through 6th grades, 1953-1958: Mrs Stewart, Mrs True, Miss Breshears, Ms Burke, Mr Henry, Mrs Hull. ?

Larry Giuliani
Larry Giuliani
Reply to  Nancy Ruth Smith
1 year ago

I was there in the 6th grade (Sep 1956 – May 1957) with Mrs. Hull. She was the music teacher for the school and did all the holiday musicals. I have never forgotten the last day of practicing for the Christmas Program when she told me how much she wanted me to be in the program, but asked me to sing the songs silently. The other memory of that program was the boy who sang solo "O Holy Night" I had a similar request when the band teacher scheduled us to be a part of a parade somewhere down town… Read more »

Larry Giuliani
Larry Giuliani
Reply to  Larry Giuliani
1 year ago

Correction: "Tommy Moran" not "Melton"

Jay
Jay
3 years ago

What were the elementary schools before Greenwood opened in the 1920s and 1930s?

mike sullivan
mike sullivan
3 years ago

Also, we were in the gym or the auditorium for music appreciation in 2nd grade when the principal, I think his name was Mr. Mosher, came in and told us that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

Mike Sullivan
3 years ago

i went to 1st and second grade there in the early 60's. My first grade teacher was Mrs. Stewart.

Jim Barber
Jim Barber
Reply to  Mike Sullivan
3 years ago

Mike, I attended Greenwood from 1948 to 1954. (See my previous postings below from 2014 and 2016.) Mrs. Stewart was also my first grade teacher. A very good one as I recall. She paid attention to everyone and was extremely interested in “her students”. She would always speak to and check on “her students” through out their career at Greenwood. As I remember there were two teachers for each grade so half of all the students were hers. She got me of to a good start in my education. I wish my daughters could have been “her students”. I would… Read more »

mike sullivan
mike sullivan
Reply to  Jim Barber
2 years ago

Thank you JIm.

I don't recall a lot from back then and only attend a few years, I recall the playground where we had these plastic "jet pilot helmets" and we would run down the grounds with our arms spread making jet sounds! Also there was a boy that would sit up on the parallel exercise bars and he would just fall off the back, flip in the air and land on his feet! I was always too chicken to try it!

Hailey from okc
Hailey from okc
3 years ago

Their mascot is the Trojans ? My middle school mascot was the Trojans !

Hailey from pcw
Hailey from pcw
3 years ago

Why is the bathroom in an abandoned school cleaner then the ones in my high school ? Like wtf !!!

kitkor
kitkor
4 years ago

most buildings in hotsprings tend to be haunted, is this one of them?

my latest blog post
5 years ago

u2022 A bells-only alarm system, aka an audible-only alarm system,
just makes a racket when it is set off. A bells-on

Chanda "Blue" R.
Chanda "Blue" R.
5 years ago

I went to school there from 76 to 82 and remember Mr. Burroughs as the principal who very patiently tolerated me and my madness. It is sad to see the school in such dire conditions, but glad to have the memories of being there.

Sonya( Schaffner) Wright
Sonya( Schaffner) Wright
Reply to  Chanda "Blue" R.
10 months ago

I went in 75 &79 Mr Burroughs was the principal I remember a man of color as the music teacher calling me out to sing with SueSue Barnes an racheal ? Asked me if I was in choir I replied no and he said well you are now.. I was Hooly Hobby in a play still have Picts lol my Aunt made my costumes always Mertie Johnson she also taught piano- yes we had the best school best staff best food lol best playground ever- we used to set up house in them big ole tree roots- such a free… Read more »

Tracey
Tracey
6 years ago

You made an old teacher friend of mine very happy with this one!

Jim Barber
Jim Barber
6 years ago

I attended Greenwood starting in September 1948 until May of 1954 for the 1st thru the 5th grades. I am the blond kid in the class picture on the back row second from the left. Mary Moran is the girl to my left. Our first grade teacher was Mrs. Stewart and she is the lady in the faculty photo on the back row second from the right. Our second grade teacher was Miss Mailis who is standing to the left of the principal (whose name I cannot remember). There were only 16 or 17 teachers in the entire school because… Read more »

Jim Barber
Jim Barber
Reply to  Jim Barber
6 years ago

I have done a little further research/remembering and have found that there were no school buses that served the school. Everyone walked, rode a bicycle, a city bus (5 cents round trip with a transfer for the ride home) or were dropped off by a parent. Lunch was 15 cents with one carton of milk (pint). I had forgotten about the cafeteria cooks who numbered about five and they did all the cooking and cleanup. Fish sticks or salmon croquets on Fridays and no pizza ever (had not found its way to Arkansas yet). We had to wipe our plates… Read more »

Jeanette Groves Sapp
Jeanette Groves Sapp
Reply to  Jim Barber
2 years ago

Hi Jim, I am Jeanette Groves, the oldest of the 4 Groves children. Not sure which duplex you lived in but we were neighbors and attended Greenwood school. Carolyn Groves Silvester and Jerry (Madison J. Groves) also attended prior to it's closing, probably Robbie was born in 55 so he was there also. Nice to read all the memorabilia written about Greenwood School. So sad to see how abandoned it is. The land would be valuable, I would think.
Thanks for posting.
Jeanette Groves Sapp

Jim Barber
Jim Barber
Reply to  Jeanette Groves Sapp
2 years ago

Jeanette, I just found your reply. I am switching from 30+ years of using a PC to and Apple iMac and it is painful and disconcerting. Therefore slow to look at one of my favorite nostalgia sites. If I remember correctly, I may have been familiar with your family from their being in the construction industry in Hot Springs. Is that right? Maybe in the Iron Worker or Steel Erection business? We lived at 1624 Greenwood which was square across the street from the front entrance on the left side of the school. Rent was $27.50 per month plus utilities… Read more »

Jim Barber
Jim Barber
Reply to  Jim Barber
5 years ago

Because of this website and all the memories it invoked, on a drive-around vacation this pasted October to Colorado and New Mexico, I re-routed my trip thru Hot Springs for a couple of days and visited a bunch of the places I remembered from my time there from 1948 thru 1954. One of the first places was Greenwood Elementary School. Unfortunately and sadly, the photo essay and text are very accurate. It was sad to see the Abandoned Arkansas website on the school but to see it in person was truly heart hurting. I spent about 1.5 hours walking, looking,… Read more »

Jim Barber
Jim Barber
Reply to  Jim Barber
1 year ago

I am planning on another “road trip vacation” late this spring with my two grandsons and my eldest daughter to Colorado and New Mexico. We will spent at least a full day or more in Hot Springs. This maybe my last opportunity to show the boys and daughter some of the places I tried to grow up, but never have.
I am sure they will be impressed with Hot Springs and Gramp’s grade school and McCard’s BBQ.

Riley
Riley
6 years ago

It could use some renovations. We need to bring it back to a better state.

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